At a time of continuing turmoil in the country’s stock markets, President Donald Trump seems to have thought that the best thing he could have done on Christmas Eve was to directly attack the Federal Reserve. Trump is no stranger to criticizing the Federal Reserve, of course, but his criticism Monday seemed to be particularly significant considering it came after days of reports that claimed he was considering firing Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.
“The only problem our economy has is the Fed. They don’t have a feel for the Market,” Trump wrote. “The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch - he can’t putt!”
As might be expected, the tweet only served to further rattle already nervous investors who are eyeing the continuing government shutdown as well as an unexpected assurance from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that there’s enough liquidity in the market. Although Trump’s tweet didn’t explicitly mention Powell, numerous reports over recent days have said the president is angry at the Fed chairman he appointed. Over the weekend, both Mnuchin and Mick Mulvaney, the incoming White House chief of staff, said Trump knew he didn’t have the authority to fire the head of the Federal Reserve. Trump himself has yet to say that though and, as Jordan Weissman pointed out in Slate over the weekend, the law on whether a president can fire a Fed chair “is, in fact, a bit unclear.”